Guns have been getting a bad rap as of late, but the fact of the matter is that shooting can be a lot of fun—and it’s perfectly safe, as long as a few basic precautions are taken. Though laws regarding the ownership and usage of guns are getting stricter in some states, there are still plenty of opportunities to practice your marksmanship skills.
You don’t have to limit yourself to the shooting range—most states have a variety of locations that are designated as target shooting spots.
Here are some suggestions for good places to hone your shooting skills legally. Please remember, however, that laws regulating where and when you can shoot guns vary from state to state, so be sure to check with your local government offices to ensure that you won’t be doing anything illegal. There’s no point in getting ticketed or arrested (or putting other people’s lives in dangers) by shooting in the wrong areas or at the wrong time.
Good places to shoot
- Your property—This varies depending on your town’s ordinances, but often times it is perfectly legal to shoot guns on your own property. However, if you are near other houses, you need to have permission from any other close by homeowners. You also may not be allowed to shoot if you are near highways, schools, or other public areas that may be crowded.
- Other people’s land, as long as you get permission—If your own property is too small or in a neighborhood where it’s prohibited, you can always try someone else’s land. If there’s anyone in your area with a farm or a large field, you may be able to get their permission to target shoot on their property. (However, don’t just assume that it’s okay to use any empty lot—just because a field seems empty or undeveloped doesn’t mean that someone doesn’t own it or that they won’t be mad at you for trespassing.)
- Mountains—Not just the mountains, but most Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sites are open to target practice. When shooting on public lands, remember that it’s illegal to deface trees, buildings, signs, or any other objects. In other words, you need to make sure you bring your own targets, and you should remove any debris when you’re done. In other words, you should always leave the area as you found it. With all that said, shooting in the great outdoors can be a lot of fun—just make sure you’re following any posted regulations so you don’t get in trouble.
- The shooting range—it’s an obvious one, but shooting ranges are some of the safest and most convenient places to shoot guns. Even if you live in a crowded metropolitan area where outdoors shooting opportunities are limited, there’s almost guaranteed to be a shooting range in the area.
Be smart, be safe
Lots of guys and girls know it—shooting guns can be a blast. As long as you exercise a little common sense and check up on your local laws about guns and where you can discharge them, you can ensure that you stay safe (and out of jail) as you have fun.
Tim Crain writes about a wide variety of topics for Cannon Safe. He especially enjoys writing about the ways to safely enjoy guns.